Decorate Your Thanksgiving Table

Autumn leaves, fresh fruits, and seasonal squash conspire to make beautiful and very inexpensive table decorations.

By Kathy Oberman


Decorating your Thanksgiving table can be fun, fruitful, and may even take you back to nature!

Now is the best time to make the most of a sun-filled afternoon and collect beautifully colored leaves, Bittersweet vines, and sea grass fronds. Press the leaves between the pages of a heavy books for a few days and then strew them down the center of the table.

Leaf-Decorated Tablecloth
To make a leaf tablecloth or table runner, simply use double-faced iron-on adhesive. Peel off paper from one side of the adhesive, arrange the leaves face down on the peeled paper, and replace the adhesive over the leaves.

Iron the paper to adhere the leaves to it and then remove the paper from the leaves. Arrange and pin the adhesive side of the leaves to an inexpensive tablecloth or runner. Turn the cloth face-down on an ironing board and iron it so that the leaves adhere to the cloth.

Thanksgiving Wreaths
You can also make a leaf wreath simply by using Super Glue or a hot-glue gun to attach leaves to a Styrofoam ring, an old grapevine wreath, or wire wreath frame from the local craft or hardware store.

The wreaths can be hung on a door, a dinning room wall or used as a centerpiece. Lay the wreath on the table top and place a floral arrangement or candlearbra in the center.

Bittersweet is at it's prime for picking now that it has blossomed into a golden yellow flowers with bright red centers. Cut long lengths of vine and while still fresh, wrap them around to form a wreath. Tie the ends together with floral wire and allow the wreaths to air dry.

You can also use varying lengths of dry Bittersweet vine to add to a floral arrangement or make an arrangement using the Bittersweet and sea grass fronds. Sea grass fronds also make a nice arrangement on their own.

Centerpieces need not be overwhelming. A simple bowl of Lady or Granny Smith apples are both beautiful and edible!

Use leftover little "jack-be-little" pumpkins from Halloween as votive candleholders. Fill round glass flower vases with cold water, cranberries and floating candles. The cranberries float too!

A large hollowed out pumpkin can be used for a soup tureen or salad bowl. Remember you can cut the pumpkin at any height -- even in half for two bowls!

Make your own cornucopia. Buy the traditional horn-shaped basket and stuff the end with tissue paper or newspaper. Arrange apples, grapes, mini pumpkins and bright gourds.

For a special effect, crystallize grapes, apples and pumpkins. Place the fruit on wax paper-lined baking sheets and brush the tops of the fruits and pumpkins with an egg white wash. Sprinkle with super fine sugar and allow to air dry for a few hours. You can use powdered egg whites for added safety against salmonella to keep them edible!